The day I fell down an escalator in Mall of the Emirates, I thought I saw my entire life flash before my eyes. It turns out it was just a Ski Dubai snowman reflected in a garishly decorated toy shop window, but it was enough to give my life a wake-up call.
As I lay on my back at the foot of the staircase, arms and legs flailing around like an upturned beetle, I vowed I would change. If I could just get through this moment of horror I would become a better person.
It has been pointed out to me since that a minor stumble in a shopping centre does not constitute a near-death experience, but these non-believers were not there. No one knows how close I came to being dragged into the mechanism and diced into a million tiny pieces.
Thankfully my watching family were not overtaken by the trauma and managed to smile merrily through the entire incident. The tears rolling down my wife’s cheeks may, to the untrained eye, have looked like those of laughter, but under repeated interrogation she has assured me it was concern and not delight that caused her to cry. Neither of us is quite sure why she chose to film my final moments on her mobile phone rather than try to pull me to safety, but nobody knows how they’re going to react to a situation like that.
It was the quick thinking of a fellow shopper in the traffic jam developing on the escalator behind me that saved the day. Placing his boot on my shoulder he was able to half shove, half kick me off the escalator and onto the tiled floor. What thanks did he want for helping a stranger in need? None at all: he just stepped over my inert body (accidentally catching me a blow to the forehead with a trailing foot as he did so) and strode off to carry on his business.
The world needs more men of action like that, I thought, as I picked myself up and dusted myself down. So that’s what I’m going to become: a saviour to needy souls. It’s not just stair-tumblers I intend to help out, however. You’re just as likely to find me holding open lift doors, handing out dirhams for supermarket trolleys, giving up my place in the taxi queue to weary-looking commuters – wherever there is a Dubai citizen in need, I’ll be there.
I urge you to do the same. Together we can make Dubai a better place, and if I do trip down again there will be more people willing to pick me up.
Will Milner is our digital editorial director. We’re going to have him checked for concussion.